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Old 31-01-2011, 08:16   #31
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me too .. i avoid the gibe at all costs cause it usually puts a lot of stress on the sails and rigging not to mention the sailors. i do a 270 degree tack .. takes a little longer but much easier.
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Old 31-01-2011, 08:21   #32
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Old 31-01-2011, 08:25   #33
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1. Jibing when over-canvassed is much more difficult (and has greater potential for broaches, etc.) than tacking. If you had sufficient sea room to tack, I believe that it would have been a better/safer alternative.


. . .


Yes, you could keep the jib sheeted in and pulling you to windward while you let the main luff (which you should also practice) - but learning how to heave-to is important and, it will not require careful helming while you put in a reef.
Excellent advice. We call the first maneuver a "chicken gybe", and I use it in any wind force about 15 -- 18 knots, since a regular gybe becomes too violent and too risky above that (for me) to be worthwhile (unless I'm sailing without the mainsail up; see below). Even if you center the boom with perfect coordination, you can still get violence when the leech of the mainsail goes over, and gybing the headsails is often messy, too. It's a cinch, actually, to head up, tack, then head off again, just takes a bit of sea room.

Gybing is the scariest thing you can do with your sails (other than what can happen with a spinnaker). There is great potential for damage to gear and crew. If I were you, I would use the chicken gybe, and avoid regular gybes in anything but light winds.

Another thing to consider is sailing downwind with headsails alone. In anything over 12 - 15 knots of wind I get little advantage from the mainsail when sailing downwind. Sailing downwind with just a headsail or two up and with the mainsail furled is a cinch, balances nicely (center of pressure is far ahead of the keel; reduces tendency to broach), and is easier to gybe since you've got no boom to deal with.
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Old 31-01-2011, 09:32   #34
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Just a cautionary note for anyone who plans on moving up to a gennaker, asymmetrical spinnaker or symmetrical spinnaker; learn to gybe with the main.

1) None of those sails can be chicken gybed. (Unless you douse gennaker with a sock.)

2) The main becomes an important method of depowering an overpowered chute by blanketing it.

I see far too many folks sailing gennakers without the main. How do they intend to get it down once the wind pipes up a bit? Using a dousing bag under those conditions must be brutal.

I will admit that I chicken gybe on occasion, but only under white sails.
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Old 31-01-2011, 13:00   #35
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We've found it's best to reef when you FIRST think about it. It's easier to shake a reef than to put one in in touchy wind.
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Old 31-01-2011, 13:37   #36
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A couple ideas for when you practice your gybes (in moderate conditions):

- Time your gybe for a momement when: 1) you're not about to get hit by a big, nasty gust (ie, look over your shoulder), and 2) you're surfing down the face of a wave (but before you slam into the next one). Boatspeed is good; apparent wind velocity is bad.

- If you've been sailing with the vang cranked down hard, ease it slightly prior to gybing. This will allow some twist in the leech and depower the sail. No too much, though, so the boom doesn't sky during the gybe.

- The mainsheet trimmer should bring in the main sheet, help gybe the boom, and ease it out promptly (but under control).

- The helmsman is the real key. He/she heads off enough to allow the main sheet trimmer to bring the sail in (ie, just past the lee), but not so far as to induce a premature gybe. During the gybe, the helmsman avoids turning hard through the wind and heading up sharply on the new tack. In fact, as soon as the boom crosses mid-ships he/she can head back down to a dead run (if not already there) or slightly by the lee on the new tack. This will minimize the heeling moment.

- Discretion is the better part of valor. There's always the 270.
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Old 31-01-2011, 13:45   #37
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Old 02-02-2011, 16:43   #38
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I was out by myself today. It went from calm to 25 plus knots in seconds. Pretty exciting and then downright scary when the end of the boom and the sail go under water. I live in the Navy town and a helicopter followed me back to my channel. I thought maybe they wanted me to go overboard so they could practice I was happy to disappoint and also to have the company as no one else was stupid enough to be out in the blow.

I had trouble furling my headsail because I need two hands and predictably, neither my windvane nor tiller pilot were cooperating. During a momentary lapse in the breeze I was able to pull it in and also put on my harness. But, I didn't even try reffing the main because it requires me to go forward.

Maybe I should have backwinded the jib. But in my heavy, full-keeled boat when I do that I end up on a reach. I do slow considerably, but I'm still healing and today the waves were something to behold. I will try under calmer conditions to practice reefing the main when I am heaved to, but will that work in the blow on a reach? I guess it would be messy, but at least I would get the main down???
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Old 02-02-2011, 16:54   #39
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A few comments:

1) when I single hand, I wear a inflatable harness and I am tethered.

2) the auto-pilot / wind vane work well for singlehanded reefing

3)if not available, heave to with lots of sea room if you end up on a reach

What was the weather forecast?
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Old 02-02-2011, 17:35   #40
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Another comments / observation:

Jibing is tricky even for experienced sailors. If you are not confident of your abilities, or even if you are confident but are over-canvassed, it may be prudent to "granny" instead of jibing... "granny" being to actually tack and then bear away to your required heading. This manouever is slightly slower, and requires a little more sea room, but is far safer and more controlled than jibing.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:16   #41
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Dulcieta

A few comments:

1) when I single hand, I wear a inflatable harness and I am tethered.

2) the auto-pilot / wind vane work well for singlehanded reefing

3)if not available, heave to with lots of sea room if you end up on a reach

What was the weather forecast?
Busted! There was a small craft advisory out. However, I was ready for it ... sort of. I took the precautions. But, when I got out it was dead calm. D-E-A-D calm. I took out the reffing and was down below when wham, bam, ty mame the wind hit.

I live in Southern California where we are blessed with beautiful days, but light wind. I could buy a bigger boat if I had a dollar for everytime the weatherman predicted good wind. So I assumed---and, yes, I know what that makes me---that the wind would not return as usual.

I really don't understand the weather and don't understand how the weatherman can get it wrong so many times in San Diego. I mean the weather is always the same! So, I have signed up for an on-line weather course. I'm sure I will be schooled not to diss the weatherman again.

Do you really teather yourself everytime you go out alone? I do if the wind picks up, but I'm not about to wear it in the bay in aforementioned light winds. I trip over it. I spend more time clipping and unclipping. It gets hot. I suspect more people say they teather than actually do. Of course, it depends on where one sails and I'm not sure you can get more benign sailing than here.

Thanks for your response. I get a lot of great tips on this site.

Susan
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:25   #42
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I really don't understand the weather and don't understand how the weatherman can get it wrong so many times in San Diego. I mean the weather is always the same! So, I have signed up for an on-line weather course. I'm sure I will be schooled not to diss the weatherman again.

Do you really teather yourself everytime you go out alone? I do if the wind picks up, but I'm not about to wear it in the bay in aforementioned light winds. I trip over it. I spend more time clipping and unclipping. It gets hot. I suspect more people say they teather than actually do. Of course, it depends on where one sails and I'm not sure you can get more benign sailing than here.

Thanks for your response. I get a lot of great tips on this site.

Susan
I am somewhat anal about weather. I have been caught. I now watch the barometer carefully, and check the forecast and local conditions including areas on the west side of Vancouver Island because that is what is coming to Georgia Strait. I use the marine forecast and Internet based sites to get a number of forecasts.

On the west side of Vancouver Island i check the NOAA weatherfax, grib files and the marine forecast.

I do tether when I single-hand and wear an inflatable pfd underway.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:42   #43
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Do you really teather yourself everytime you go out alone? I do if the wind picks up, but I'm not about to wear it in the bay in aforementioned light winds. I trip over it. I spend more time clipping and unclipping. It gets hot. I suspect more people say they teather than actually do. Of course, it depends on where one sails and I'm not sure you can get more benign sailing than here.
I wear a PFD almost all the time now. Alone, it's 100%, and I'm just in Lake Ontario. I wear a tether when alone with 20 knots. You could get a two-hook, expanding type tether and rig jacklines easily (on a Contessa, they could be just 1/2 inch line knotted at the mooring cleats). Just clip on to the line, clip off the padeye in the cockpit, and move around.

I'm sure it's occurred to you that running the mast lines back to the cockpit and installing sheet stoppers (Garhauer is strong and well priced) is the way to not have to leave the cockpit in a blow anyway, right?
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Old 03-02-2011, 13:03   #44
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So much to learn.

Who ever said that sailing is boring obviously never sailed!
It is boring! You just need a lot of skill to make it that way.
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Old 03-02-2011, 13:21   #45
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Reefing too late?

I got in the habit of knotting the reef lines as I lowered the main.
1 because it kept the main under control as I lowered it and motored some way up to the marina.
2 because I could set off in any conditions without having to try and reef in a strong wind
3 I'd then consider how much main to use after I'd got out into Soton Water and found out how much wind there really was.
4 And I still got it wrong sometimes

And I also learnt to gybe in strong winds because sometimes the old Prouts really don't want to tack. Approaching a shore and having failed to tack twice then a gybe is sure and certain - if the main is reefed ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Later worked out that much of my trouble was the stayed mainsail adding too much area aft. Usually sailed with the first reef in after that and handling and tacking improved considerably.
And the not tacking - well I think it's also down to inadequate rudders and not enough akerman on the linkages. And lack of seamanship in getting the sails right on a reach, and trimming them in the right way through the tack.
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